The United States finished off their preparations for Brazil with a 2-1 win over fellow World Cup participant Nigeria on Saturday. Jozy Altidore looks to have rediscovered his goal scoring form just in time for Brazil with both American goals.
The US will head to Brazil full of confidence. They have gotten better in each warm-up match they have played, and Saturday’s performance was their best this year. I still don’t expect the Americans to get out of their group in Brazil, but if they can get past Ghana in their opener, that match with Portugal looms large. Portugal, who were unimpressive in qualifying have the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo, but the rest of the squad doesn’t scare opponents like Germany does.
Here are three things I liked in the USA’s win over Nigeria
Defence looked more solid:
After getting carved open by Turkey a week ago, the fragile US back four looked more settled and solid against Nigeria. Fabian Johnson at right back was impressive while the center back paring of Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron showed signs of improvement and another week of practice before Ghana will help them even further.
A Diamond That Worked
Jurgen Kinlesmannn started Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley in a three man center midfield formation that worked really well. Jones and Beckerman provided protection to the back four, one reason why the Americans looked stronger defensively, while Bradley was able to do what he does best and that is roam from box to box. The pass that Bradley make for Altidore’s second goal, a 30-yard pass over the defense, was pure class.
Altidore Rounding IntoForm
The star of the USA victory was Altidore, whose after a dismal season with Sunderland, where he scored just twice in all competitions, Altidore returned to the fold of the US national team this summer devoid of confidence. But give Klinsmann credit, he has done a good job rebuilding Altidore’s confidence and we saw the results of that on Saturday.
What did you think of the USA’s performance? Can they get out of their group and into the knockout stages?